Speaking and Listening:
At Our Lady Star of the Sea, we regard ‘Speaking and Listening’ skills as essential to the development of children’s learning. These skills are life skills and in school they allow children to access every area of the curriculum. It is therefore of paramount importance to the development of our children that we promote and develop good speaking and listening skills.
We aim to engage children in stimulating conversations that increase their vocabulary and encourage them to become active listeners. Speaking and Listening is taught across all areas of the curriculum and across all aspects of the school day. This begins in Reception through role play and continues throughout the school in many different forms including; performances and presentations, engaging in discussion and debate and understanding the importance of effective communication.
Phonics begins in Reception and follows a carefully planned and structured programme – Letters and Sounds. Phonics is taught as a discrete lesson, daily, across all of Key Stage One and integrated into lessons throughout each and every day. Our children are streamed into groups that match their stage of learning enabling them to develop phonic knowledge and skills. Throughout Key Stage Two the teaching of phonics will continue as deemed necessary and in line with each child’s stage of development with the expectation that all children will become fluent readers secure in word building, understanding and recognition.
Reading is also an important life skill that supports children’s learning across the whole curriculum. At Our Lady Star of the Sea, we strive to ensure that our children are taught to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding; that they enjoy reading for pleasure and are able to read aloud with confidence. In order to achieve this, we ensure that there is a range of good quality reading materials available (fiction, non-fiction, magazines etc) so that children can immerse themselves and develop a love of reading and become lifelong learners.
Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything. —Tomie dePaola
It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations—something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own. —Katherine Patterson
Reading is taught from the day children start school through a variety of strategies. In Reception children share books matched to their phonic level and are immersed in a text rich environment. Across school our reading scheme consists of a range of schemes which are built into our ‘banded reading’ resources.
Across school our children enjoy books through whole class shared reading, group sessions, 1-1 reading, guided and class novels. We have developed our own Reading Spine, which is regularly amended and updated to ensure the quality and relevance of texts is maintained. Home reading books are provided at the appropriate level until children become fluent readers, and then children are encouraged to select books that they wish to read. The school endeavours to provide fiction and nonfiction books which motivate and encourage children to read.
At Our Lady Star of the Sea, we aim to encourage our children to become independent and creative writers who are well-motivated and engaged in writing for different purposes. Across school we aim to teach children skills to express themselves through a variety of styles and genres. Using writing to effectively and coherently engage audiences. In order for children to be able to do this we provide them with a text rich environment, models of different genres, opportunities to expand vocabulary and lessons to stimulate creativity and imagination.
Teaching writing is carefully planned and structured. A long-term plan has been developed with selected assessment texts for each term, each of them book/novel based. These books, along with further recommended texts that complement the core text, are carefully matched to each class based on age/interests and provide a suitable element of challenge. Opportunities are provided for reflection, proof-reading, sharing and editing – this is encouraged from the youngest children to the oldest.
Writing is displayed and celebrated throughout the school and teachers encourage children to become independent writers who are proud of their writing and are able to draft and edit their work to a high standard.